MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Our Grounds is a unique coffee shop in Kendall that is providing work for people with all kinds of disabilities.

CBS4 News first featured them in 2019 but given how extremely tough the pandemic has been on food service, and small businesses, it was time for another visit to see how they are doing.

Vanessa Vila is the founder of Our Grounds; she works side by side with her staff every day.

“We like to promote inclusion and kindness and provide opportunities that some of our adults might not have in another coffee shop or restaurant,” explained Vila.

Ever since it opened last summer, they have been going non-stop, brewing kindness, creating opportunities, and grinding through the challenges of COVID-19.

“It has definitely been a roller coaster for sure. But we have a  wonderful staff of employees all of them have different abilities, a lot of them have been working with us from the start, doing great with everything going on and I’m proud of all of them,” said Vila.

The café has stayed open and kept the staff busy, whether they came in, or chose not to.

“Unfortunately, with the pandemic, some of our employees have underlying health conditions. It’s more important for them to be healthy and to stay home for now.  We’ve had to be flexible, some of them (from home) are writing notes on bags, on stamping sleeves; and we do weekly Zoom meetings on Mondays, keeping them engaged and providing them with meaningful activities.”

Jenny is one of the employees we met last year. She loves her job and has really grown into it. She says she enjoys her work, greeting people, and writing the messages for customers.

“I would say one of the main things I’ve noticed about her is her confidence. She definitely has come out of her shell, she knows our regulars’ names, she’s more engaged and social with our customers, and she feels more at home I feel like now versus a year ago,” said Vila.

In addition to the friendly staff, and cozy décor, there’s locally sourced treats to tempt you.

“We’ve partnered with several local businesses. Our baked goods are now coming from local businesses such as Fireman Derek’s Pies, Mama’s Guava, and Atelier Monnier,” said Vila.

While they have a steady base of regulars, one upside with more people working from home, they have seen more new faces.

“Now people have a little more time, they’re walking around and now, and we’re part of the community so that’s helping us out. It is definitely not your regular coffee shop; we like to say coffee with a cause.”

Our Grounds is located at 10714 SW 113 Place in Kendall.

Want to take a look through their Instagram page? Click here.

You can visit them online to learn more.

Marybel Rodriguez

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